Mozilla-backed selfie stunt challenges Europe’s copyright laws

eiffel tower

Stiff EU copyright proposals that theoretically ban memes, gifs and even pictures of some landmarks are the target of a campaign backed by Firefox browser maker Mozilla, which has encouraged a campaign of digital civil disobedience it’s calling Post Crimes.

Post Crimes is centered on a web app that lets users mock up selfies of themselves in front of several European landmarks, then send them as postcards to EU lawmakers to ridicule the proposed copyright laws.

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Mozilla specifically objects to many parts of the EU proposal, including a lack of exceptions covering panoramas, parodies and remixes, serious restrictions on automated crawling of the public web, and a requirement that major ISPs obtain agreements from rightsholders to serve their content, which could mean system-wide use of DRM technology in some cases.

“These proposals, if adopted as they are, would deal a blow to EU startups, to independent coders, creators, and artists, and to the health of the internet as a driver for economic growth and innovation,” said the Mozilla blog.

According to Post Crimes’ website, the stunt hasn’t really taken off yet – just five users have sent postcards to EU representatives as of Tuesday afternoon EST, and the campaign is apparently shooting for at least 1,000 such missives. There’s also a petition, available here.

Europe, traditionally, places more limits on freedom of expression and copyright law than the U.S., where things like parody and remixes are covered by long-standing legal precedent. The pattern seems set to continue, should the latest EU proposals be adopted.

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